Realm 2021 Year In Review

11 min readDec 31, 2021

-- 2021 Year In Review

2021: The year of the NFT

2021 will forever be remembered as the year of the NFT. Collins dictionary coined “NFT” as the 2021 word of the year as the term transformed from a niche known exclusively to blockchain and technology enthusiasts to a household name encompassing the cutting edge of art and culture. Sales of NFTs skyrocketed from 340 million USD in 2020 to somewhere between 18 and 27 billion USD in 2021. 2021 will also be known as the year that Realm entered the scene. The brainchild of three long-time friends and serial technology entrepreneurs, Realm emerged to meet the needs of a rapidly expanding industry, pushing the boundaries of technology and culture.

Beeple’s iconic first 5000 days, the third most expensive piece of artwork in the world

Founding Realm

In January, Realm’s co-founders, Matthew Larby, Joban Thomas, and Milan Gruner, came together to design a platform for creatives to showcase their NFTs in a new way and to evolve the industry standard beyond the typical e-commerce marketplaces that artists, collectors, and investors are currently reliant upon to buy and sell NFTs. The idea was relatively straightforward — to create an open-source, decentralized, fractionalized, virtual world — a metaverse — where anyone could build their own customizable spaces and feature and market their NFTs in an immersive environment. In March, as the team refined their ideas and began to develop a product roadmap, the world was caught in awe as Christie’s Auction house sold Beeple’s iconic “Everyday’s — the first 5000 days” JPEG for a whopping $69 million USD.

Realm’s co-founders, Matthew Larby, CEO [Left], Milan Gruner, CTO, [Mid], Joban Thomas, CPO [Right].

Raising Funds

As the world got caught up in NFT Mania, Realm found itself significantly ahead of the curve — having already designed solutions for some of the biggest pain points in an industry that most were just beginning to learn about. The co-founders of Realm decided to take the leap of faith, and invest out of their own pockets to hire the team necessary to bring this vision into reality. In May, after months of bootstrapping and intensive internal development, Realm successfully closed a seed round of 2.25 million USD from some of the top investment firms in Crytpo, including Alphabit, NGC, Genesis Block Ventures, LD Capital, Marshland Capital, Constellation, Moonrock, and SL2.

Designing Realm

Shortly thereafter, the white paper was released to the public, and the world got its first real glimpse of Realm. The world’s only mobile-first Metaverse, where users can create personalized worlds, or microverses, to showcase their NFTs and even sell entire microverses as NFTs. The Metaverse would be built on Godot, and open source game engine, just one example of ethos driven design for the platform.

A screen capture from a Realm engineer building a world in Godot

The team would also implement an inclusive land model, allowing anyone to build the world of their dreams for free, while also creating a premium real estate market for savvy investors and successful players. AR portals would bridge the physical and digital planes in new and exciting ways, and the trademarked NFTix™ platform would enable event producers to gate their events with collectible NFTs. Realm would be impact driven, for example by planting trees in real life when trees are planted in the game. The fruit from these trees would be used to feed your Realmies, classes of genetic algorithm generated NFT companions, whose authenticity would be verified by ChainLink. This vision of a cross-chain, community-driven, open-source Metaverse platform was inspiring, and it would be powered by an industry leading blockchain scaling solution — Polygon.

Two Realmies in front of the Temple of Doge (Left) and the Last Tree (Right)


Realm also provides users ways to earn income through playing the game. This play-to-earn concept gained enormous traction in 2021, with Axie Infinity alone surpassing 1.2 Billion USD in revenue, and providing incomes to communities around the world who had been struck hard by the social and economic turmoil of the recent pandemic. Realm is inclusive by design — and was built so that anyone with access to a smartphone has the ability to download our App and engage in the economy. This sits in stark contrast to the many metaverse projects which are focused on VR headsets — which disorient and disconnect individuals from the real world. Realm’s mobile first approach makes it prime to reach the world’s 2.2 Billion active smartphone gamers and the 6.3 billion active smartphone users; in terms of network effects, the VR-based and PC-based metaverses don’t stand a chance. The world will have access to Realm, and through it they will be able to tap directly into a global network of artists, gamers, products and services — all oriented towards building community and making the world we live in a better place.

A Plaza Portal in Realm’s Metropolis
A Pesky Pirate in Kid Eight’s EVOLverse [Left] A view of the Temple of Doge [Right]

Building Community

As Realm continued to grow it’s internal team so too did the community expand and grow. The team set off on a virtual tour, engaging communities across the internet and answering questions about the future of Realm. The ecosystem continued to develop as Realm signed on a select few strategic advisors such as Barry Herbst, Michelle Tsing, Matthew Land, and David Ham. These luminaries in the worlds of crypto, NFTs, investments, mobile and decentralized technologies helped guide Realm as it grew. Partnerships formed with acclaimed NFT artists such as KidEight, who is working with Realm to build out an immersive game world to view and experience his artwork.

A ski-masked Cherub in KidEights EVOLverse [Left] Realm Uniphoenix [Right]

Realm also partnered with a series of NFT projects who desired to bring their works into the metaverse; this included Polychain Monsters, Bitboy Crypto’s Pluto Alliance, Cosmic Factions Pigeon Flight Club, and the Brokoli Network, just to name a few. With the world beginning to see concrete examples of Realm’s design in action, the community began to share their own ideas for the Realms they wanted to build out, and the stage was set to roll out the utility token that would drive the Metaverse economy.

Perspectives of the Metropolis
Finding Treasures in Realm [Left] Race Tracks in Realm [Right]

The $REALM Token

The $REALM token is the currency of choice in the Realm metaverse, and its utility is limited only by the imaginations of the community of creatives building Realm and its vibrant economy. The token launch was incubated through Launchpool Labs and Polkastarter, and broke records in the IDO. The launch was so successful, that several of Realm’s early investors decided to double down on their bets by adding additional liquidity to the markets. The subsequent months were filled with excitement as the larger world of cryptocurrency investors gained access to the Realm token on both the Ethereum and Binance smart chain networks, tradable on Uniswap and Pancakeswap, respectively. Realm also launched a limited liquidity staking pool in partnership with Ferrum Network, providing additional opportunities to earn. As the markets ebbed and flowed through their bearish and bullish cycles, so too did the price of Realm rise and fall, with some early investors cashing out on their high returns, and new investors buying in for the long term future.

The Realm Token Launch

Crypto Investing 2021

2021 was an iconic year for cryptocurrencies — with many top tokens providing somewhere between monumental and mind boggling returns. For example, top chains like Ethereum (ETH), Binance Smart Chain (BNB), and Polygon (MATIC) posted 1-year returns of 450%, 1,500%, and 12,800% respectively with their tokens. More volatile meme-coins including DOGE and its successor SHIB posted similarly impressive 1-year returns of 12,000% and 49,000,000% respectively. Top metaverse tokens, from Decentraland (MANA) and Sandbox (SAND) posted YTD returns of 4,400% and 15,000% respectively.

Year-to-Date (YTD) Returns of select cryptocurrencies in 2021 [Source]

With the cryptocurrency market as a whole adding 1.5 trillion USD to its bottom line, reaching a total value of approximately 2.3 trillion USD as of mid December, 2021, investors from around the world sought new opportunities to leverage their newfound wealth to achieve the sort of returns that we now know are possible through crypto. Many of these investors found $REALM, and amidst the metaverse hype which ensued from Facebook changing its name to Meta, and Realm launching it’s Teaser App onto the app store, the $REALM token reached an all time high of about $2.10, representing a 70x increase from it’s IDO price of $.03.

Realm’s Teaser App

Developing the Metaverse

The world was excited to see a working demonstration of Augmented Reality technology in this new app, which showed a map of Realm’s metropolis, a virtual city and major Metaverse hub. Loyal members of the community tuned in weekly to read the Developers Logs, and see this city come to life with treasures, car racing, platform games, new avatars, chat systems, and so much more! As the app came together, Realm launched into Pre-Alpha Testing and opened registration for the community to apply to gain exclusive early access and become testers. Beyond projecting 3D models of the metropolis into their living rooms, and watching Realm’s engineers work consistently in building out this virtual city, the Realm community began to invest into Realm’s Metaverse real estate.

Metaverse Real Estate

Views of the Singularity at the Center of Realm’s Metropolis

At the center of the metropolis sits a singularity, powering the city, where new players enter Realm; around the singularity are 4 concentric rings of land — 4 tiers, with the most valuable being closest to the center. Through a partnership with NFTrade, Realm launched 4 rounds of land sales, allowing $REALM token holders to stake their tokens and become eligible for early access to purchasing land. The land sales were a smashing success, with demand so high that some rounds sold out in under 5-minutes. Some folks were even willing to spend 5–10x the price to purchase their own parcels of the metropolis on the secondary markets

The four tiers of Land in Realm

Live Events

Screenshot of Realm’s Mobile Metaverse at NearCon 2021

Amidst these early successes, the Realm Team was invited to participate in some of the year’s most significant crypto and NFT events: NFT.NYC, Forbes Monaco First Annual Crypto and Art Gala, and Art Basel Miami/DcentralCon. The team embarked on a global journey, hosting Realm’s first live mobile metaverse experience at NearCon Alpha in partnership with DevCo, sponsoring NFT.NYC and offering every attendee a mysterious QuantPod NFT, hosting the exclusive VIP party before the Forbes Gala in Monaco, and participating in a series of fireside chats in Miami. Throughout these events, the team connected with community members, investors, advisors, friends, technologists, creatives, and artists, closing deals and forging new partnerships for Realm’s emerging ecosystem. Several new partners, such as NFT.NYC, Mezurashi, Morrow Collective, Defintasy, Nickel Token, and LunarCrush, decided to participate in Realm’s holiday season, QuantPod airdrop giveaway campaign, which will be ongoing until the mechanism for unlocking the QuantPods actual value is released.

Matthew Larby, CEO & Founder of Realm w/ Joe Vz CEO & Founder of Lunarcrush [Left] Joban Thomas, CPO & Founder of Realm speaking with TJ Kawamura, Founder of Realm Republic, and others [Right]
Sir Lewis Hamilton Cover, won by Matthew Larby [Left] Matthew Larby representing the Metaverse at Forbe’s Crypto and Art Gala [Right]

If you’ve made it all the way to the end of this article, you can surely see that this has been a historic year for Realm and that this is truly just the beginning. As we reflect on the year behind us, the team is filled with gratitude for milestones we have reached and partnerships we have forged. As we look towards the year ahead, we have a tremendous amount to look forward to: CEX listings, Realm’s NFT marketplace, Public Beta, new blockchain integrations, an updated website and meta-paper, Realmies, QuantPods, exclusive NFTs for our community, significant partnerships, concerts, games, fashion shows, and paying it all forward to the planet earth and her people in a good way. Be sure to join our Telegram and Discord communities and follow us on social media @enter_realm to stay current with activities in Realm. Thank you for being a part of this journey with us — it is the community that makes Realm what it is — a place for us all to come together and build the worlds we dream of.

Until next year,

We’ll see you in the Metaverse!

An Aerial View of Realm’s Metropolis

About Realm

Realm is a mobile-first, play-to-earn, social impact driven Metaverse that allows gamers, players and artists to create their own personalized NFT microverse. Creators can bring unique music, art, and games into their realms. Whole living worlds can be minted as an ERC-1155 NFT and traded on the OpenSea Marketplace. Alternatively, players can discover, trade, collect and view NFTs in the environments and experiences their creators imagined.

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